by June Friesen
Love your pet – one may respond I love my pet every day so why do I need a day to remind me to do it? Sometimes maybe it is just a time to remind us how much we would miss not having a pet close by, one that loves us unconditionally. As I think of animals, whether they are pets or not I am reminded that God created them. When God created them ‘He said, “It is good.”
God spoke: “Swarm, Ocean, with fish and all sea life!
Birds, fly through the sky over Earth!”
God created the huge whales, all the swarm of life in the waters,
And every kind and species of flying birds.
God saw that it was good.
God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Ocean!
Birds, reproduce on Earth!”
It was evening, it was morning—
24-25 God spoke: “Earth, generate life! Every sort and kind:
cattle and reptiles and wild animals—all kinds.”
And there it was: wild animals of every kind,
Cattle of all kinds, every sort of reptile and bug.
God saw that it was good.
If we read on in this chapter, God also told Adam and Eve after He created them that they were to care for the animals. God continued to show His care for animals in the story of Noah and the ark because God did not just put Noah and his family in the ark; no, He told Noah to take two of every animal, a male and female (Genesis 6 – 9). When I look at these verses I see that not only did God create the animals, He also cared enough for them to preserve their species when He covered the earth with floodwaters. One may ask, why did God create animals in the first place? And another question that may surface is the one that involves God requiring animals to be sacrificed because of the wrong choices that people made (but that is for another day).
In Matthew 12 Jesus confronted the religious leaders about their criticism of Him by challenging them with these words about a lamb: “He replied, “Is there a person here who, finding one of your lambs fallen into a ravine, wouldn’t, even though it was a Sabbath, pull it out? Surely kindness to people is as legal as kindness to animals!” Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” He held it out and it was healed. The Pharisees walked out furious, sputtering about how they were going to ruin Jesus.” Another time Jesus commented on the dog(s) that came to lick the sore of the beggar who was sick.
As I grew up being a pet lover, always having dogs, as the first photo shows – I soon learned as a little child how a dog was loving and caring at all times. When I felt sad, I remember going and laying down with my dog, in fact, we had a golden lab named Brownie, who was like a caregiver for me in some respects. If I was outside on the farm and wandered off she always was with me. All my father had to do was call her, and when she came, he said, “Where is June?” and off she would go and lead him to wherever I was.
The recent pets in our lives have been Czech Shepherds. Abigail and Rusty were our first two and below you will see Sasha who is our current shepherd. Since we live in a townhouse with no yard, she gets three walks each day and a total of anywhere to 2.5 – 4 miles in total. She is one who makes sure she gets loved ‘every day’ and not just on National Love Your Pet Day. At times I find myself thinking that during my lifetime the loyalty and concern of the dogs I/we have had is indeed a real reminder of how much God cares for each one of us. Here is a neat aside: Dog spelled backward is God.
There are other pets that people have – many people have cats and they are furry and friendly too. Here is one of my friend’s cats who definitely is loved as well. Cats have a special way that God has gifted them to say they are happy with us – we usually call it purring. It is definitely a gentle and possibly even a calming sound they share as they snuggle close and receive those precious pats and caressing.
I would like to close today by sharing about another pet that graced our home for about 3 years. This is Angel. And yes, Angel is a bird.
My husband was just returning home from a doctor’s appointment. He had already called me and told me that the news of the biopsy was cancer, however it was in the very early stage. As he pulled up in his parking space outside our townhouse and opened his car door, there at his feet was this very bird. He bent down and the bird let him pick him up without flying away or fighting him. He brought him into the house and I am like, “What am I going to do with him? I do not have a cage.” I found a small box, poked some holes in it, and put him inside. And then I took my son and we went to the pet store to get this bird a home. Our son picked out some toys, saying we should give him special things to have in his little cage. We came home and I prepared his little home with goodies, water, and toys. My husband named him, ‘Angel.’ We shared this story with many as they visitied us over the next 2 -3 years. Angel blessed our home with his presence, singing at times and at other times, just a quiet presence. Because he was very active it was hard to clean his cage. One day, a few months ago, he managed to get out of the cage as I was cleaning it and away he flew. I was so sad. And when I told my husband what happened he was sad as well. And then God dropped a thought into my spirit and I said to my husband, “Do you think Angel knew that you recently were told that your blood work showed that there was no longer any sign of cancer, that the treatment was very effective? Do you think that he thought his job at our house was finished and he needed to go on his next mission of mercy?” And so it was that I began to pray for whoever found our ‘Angel’ and that he too will indeed be an ‘Angel’ for them.
And so I encourage each one of you, whether you have a pet or not, to thank God today for the gift of animals in our lives. Some of them serve very special purposes in our lives especially those that serve as service dogs. And yes, I believe that God would also encourage us to pray for the animals around us and again especially those that provide care as well as therapy for people of all ages.
As I close today I share with you one of my writings of a few years (2014) back called a Garden of Love.
A GARDEN OF LOVE
I believe that God has created a garden of love for all,
And in that garden there is a special place for all of our loving faithful pets
To romp and to play forever and aye.
How could they ever deserve anything but the best for their example to us of God’s faithfulness to the end.
I believe that when God created the world way back when He knew that He would need a special garden just designed for human’s very faithful friends, their pets…
And so it has trees and treats, balls and frisbees,
Lost of soft green grass in which to roll and rest.
And when their faithful journey on earth is finished they find their place in the Garden of Love –
The reward of showing humankind the unconditional love like God has for us all.
Photo of cat used with permission of Gina Pollard; all other photos and writing by June Friesen. Scripture is from The Message translation.
Christine and Lilly will talk about Celtic Christianity, as Lilly has the opportunity to attend a retreat with John Philip Newell! Join Christine Sine and Lilly Lewin on Wednesday, February 23rd 2022 at 9 am PT (check my timezone) for our next FB Live happening on our Godspace Light Community Facebook Group! Can’t make it? No worries–we upload the sessions on our youtube channel so you can still enjoy the lively discussions and interesting topics. And catch us live for the next session–happening here!